Retired Ellsworth Raider Shares Experience with Museum Visitors

  • Published
  • By 28th Bomb Wing
  • 28 BW/PA

Retired Master Sgt. Robert Ball, former 28th Operational Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance superintendent, was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, from 1955 to 1965, where he maintained the base’s B-52 Stratofortress fleet.

These days, he spends time in the South Dakota Air and Space Museum’s Air Yard, where the B-52 is displayed amongst other aircraft employed by the Air Force throughout the years.

“If the weather is good, I’m not doing nothing, I jump into the old ‘55” Ball said, referring to his 1955 Pontiac, an automobile he has owned since his arrival to Ellsworth.

He has displayed the car in various auto shows across the country, even winning an award for it in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It serves as another piece of history to show visitors.

Ball talks with guests about his 20-year career and experiences with the B-52 in addition to other aircraft such as the B-36 Peacemaker.

Ball enjoys sharing stories of his time in the Air Force and looks back fondly on his service.

“I would do it again in an instant,” he said. “I had a wonderful career.”

Ball plans to continue visiting the museum to share his experience and offers wisdom to Airmen currently serving.

“Keep your chin into the wind,” he said. “You’ve got a job, do it.”

Ball says that every Airman has a responsibility to their service and their country and that the importance of one’s torch to carry cannot be understated. Mr. Ball bookended his opinion on the matter with encouragement urging Airmen to “press on with pride”.